Friday, December 9, 2011

So You Want to Write a Book, Huh?

 The new book is now up to 270 pages.  Now, if you ever want to write a book, you should really consider how much insanity might be required for the project.  The caveat though, is that there are no enforceable rules.  Well, maybe spelling...

I started out wanting to write a children's book.  Then I discovered that children are a tough audience.  I mean, they can see right through your bullshit.  They only become naive and dumb once they become adults.  That scared me off.  So, I figured 'young adult novel.'  Except by the second chapter I needed the 'F' word.  Twice actually.  Sometimes no other word works.  Fudge, phooey, gosh darn...they don't do it. So, change course.  Just make it a novel.  I also decided I wanted Fidel Castro in the cast.  No, I don't know why.  Writers are a little bent upstairs, so don't look for logic.  Hell, I don't even have a plot at this point. With Castro, that meant it would have to be a 'period piece.'  So I thought, "Hey, nobody has written a novel based on the Cuban Missile Crisis that had nothing to do with the Cuban Missile Crisis."  Hell, why not?  By chapter 5 though, I had too many characters.  It was so out-of-control that I had to put butcher-paper on all the walls of my office and make notes with different colored Sharpies.  So then I figured, I needed to kill off some people.  Parents seemed the likely choice since they were kind of weak characters anyway and probably wouldn't be missed.  So the two main characters would then be a 14-year old girl and an 8-year old boy.  Wanted to center the book around the boy, but after a mere 2800-words, the girl took over.  What a surprise!!  Also thought there should be some teen romance, so I hooked her up with the class weirdo.  I was a class weirdo myself once and I wanted to see the weirdo get the girl for a change. I'd kill the parents off in Canada.  No, I wasn't sure why.  Foreign intrigue maybe.  The story also needed some sexual tension and since the girl was too young, I invented an attractive blond teacher who wore frumpy dresses and librarian glasses, but had some real Lolita things going on in the background.  I gave her an illegitimate child fathered by her psychotic ex-fiance and just had the cops kill him later as he was just background material anyway.  Then I hired a lawyer to handle the parent's untimely death and thought it would be nice to hook him up with the Lolita woman.  Also, since it was the 60's, I needed to throw in some race and gender issues.  So I created some black characters in leather jackets and an aggressive female lawyer from New York.  Waiting to see how that works out.  Then, I had to get this whole mess to Kentucky since I needed to have a damn horse in the story!  Otherwise the title wouldn't make any sense and that's how this whole escapade got started in the first place.  I picked Paris, Kentucky because I was there once and thought it was this cool, old-fashioned kind of iconic Kentucky town.  Trouble was, about three chapters later I went on Google Street View and it was the wrong damn town.  Oh, too late to change that.  Then, I invented two horse farmers -- a couple -- about sixty-years old, unmarried, ex-bootleggers -- one that questioned God and the other that warred with God.  See, I wanted some Baptists in here because they are more interesting than Lutherans, so...Okay, all you budding authors.  Still want to write a novel?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Can Horses Go to Jail for Kicking an Owner?

An interesting question in an era that has witnessed a 5-fold increase in random horse/human violence. Some authorities attribute it to global warming, others impeach the violent content found on television today.  One researcher even found a connection between random, violent acts and the import of so-called Warmbloods from areas of Europe known to support factions with anarchist tendencies.  Then, there is the economic card -- horses being fed sub-standard oats imported from China and non-organic, generic carrots.
In Chapter 26, 'The Vice Squad,' of his marginally best-selling, overly self-centered and wordy book, the author expounds on his newest theory: "Horses are From Somewhere Else & So are Humans."  Through the use of pie-charts, colorful graphs and secretly recorded interviews with agents of the Humane Society, the author expounds on how horse violence has permeated the nation's conscience and forced many worried horse owners to buy cats.  The issue of criminality in the prosecution of what agents have identified as "socio-pathic hairballs," has gone all the way to America's top court in Washington DC, where just yesterday, the Court handed down its preliminary conclusions.  Here we offer the author's interpretation of that ruling.

"Currently, horses enjoy an immunity from prosecution based on a ruling by the Supreme Court (2-1 with six abstentions), that basically stated that whoever had the larger brain had 'primary responsibility for getting the hell out of the way.'  This point of jurisprudence was argued on that Biblical definition of horses as "dumb beasts," and apparently, since the Court was stacked with Reagan appointees, nobody wanted to cross-examine God.  As such, the Court decided, most punishment handed down would be limited to frowning, finger-pointing and/or banishment to another stable.  Repeat offenders would just move more often."

So there you have it. Looks like no jail time for these four-legged felons. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Horseshoer of Leisure -- Until I Tried to Get a Visa Card

In the banker's office one fine morning.  I was feeling smug.  Too smug.  Thought it was time to get one of those Gold Cards!

     Loan Oifficer:  Strumming through a pamphlet entitled: Adjusted Salary Expectations in Isolated Trades.  "Farmer, framer, ferry boat captain,'re not a furrier?  Hmm.  Furniture finisher, fraud investigator...well, no farrier.  Just what is a farrier?"

{A lot of conversation omitted here as a cheap commercial teasing device.  My publisher swears by this tactic.}

   As I left his office, I pocketed the booklet on Adjusted Salary Expectations in Isolated Trades.  It was published by the American Banking Information Clearinghouse in Elgin, Illinois.  The loan officer was right, farriers weren't listed.  But if I had applied as a magician, a road-reflector technician, an ice-cream man, or a greeting card author, I would have been issued a card.  There was even a card with a $500 limit for 'people currently incarcerated by the United States government.'  But no farriers.